Transportation is Taking Off: Our Investment in Joby

Toyota AI Ventures was founded to invest in early-stage startups that are developing disruptive technologies and business models, particularly those that enable greater mobility and are multi-modal.

That’s why the we, at Toyota AI Ventures, are incredibly excited to welcome Joby Aviation to our portfolio. The Santa Cruz, California-based company is building a new travel solution that will soar above the rest: a fully-electric, vertical-takeoff-and landing (eVTOL) air-taxi service.

The Joby passenger aircraft is designed to offer commuters a safe, affordable, and faster way to commute in local and regional environments where ground congestion is a challenge. Joby’s piloted eVTOL aircraft will seat five and be able to fly at least 150 miles on a charge. It’s also designed to be faster than other rotorcraft, significantly quieter on takeoff/landing, and near-silent on flyover. Its range, speed, safety redundancies, and passenger capacity are best-in-class.

And, most importantly, the air-transportation-as-a-service model has the potential to radically disrupt transportation as we know it by offering an affordable way to reduce long commutes and traffic congestion. Consider how our lives would change if we could fly through our worst commutes on the Hollywood Freeway in Los Angeles, the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago, or my hometown Airport Expressway in Miami.

As Joby announced today, the company has secured $100M in Series B financing to take its eVTOL aircraft into pre-production and certification, and we’re thrilled to be part of their journey along with other strategic investors like Intel Capital, JetBlue Technology Ventures, and SPARX Group. Joby is also growing its team, hiring top-notch talent in structural engineering, electrical engineering, certification, flight control, and software.

While Joby’s service isn’t available to the public yet, you can learn more about the company and get a sense of what it might feel like to ride in a Joby passenger aircraft on their site. The mobility markets are changing rapidly, and we are looking forward to what’s next — whether on the ground or in the air!